icddr,b scientist wins international award for pneumonia innovation

Dr Md Jobayer Chisti has been awarded a People’s Choice Award for the Most Promising Child Pneumonia Innovation, after receiving more than 1000 votes in an online global voting competition

A low-cost version of the bubble-CPAP oxygen therapy circuit has received a people’s choice award as one of the most promising childhood pneumonia innovations, awarded at the Pneumonia Innovations Summit in New York on 12 November. The innovation was developed and tested by icddr,b’s Dr Md Jobayer Chisti, the clinical lead in the Dhaka Hospital’s intensive care unit, who also presented to the summit audience on why this low-cost technology is a cheap but effective method of providing oxygen to young children suffering from severe pneumonia and hypoxaemia (low levels of oxygen in the blood). Dr Chisti received more than 1000 votes in the online global voting competition, which was hosted on Facebook, and he placed in the top five out of 34 total innovators.

More than 50 innovators and 150 global health leaders assembled at the inaugural Pneumonia Innovations Summit in New York to coincide with World Pneumonia Day on 12 November. The next generation of pneumonia prevention, diagnostic and treatment innovations were unveiled at the event.

Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide, and it kills more than 950,000 children under five years of age annually.  The bulk of this burden falls on South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. According to a recent report, Pushing the Pace: Progress and Challenges in Fighting Childhood Pneumonia, many children die because of delays in appropriate care seeking, diagnosis and treatment.

A recent clinical trial published in The Lancet has shown that Dr Chisti’s low-cost bubble-CPAP was associated with fewer deaths and treatment failures in children under five years of age with severe pneumonia compared to the World Health Organization’s recommended standard low-flow oxygen treatment. This bubble-CPAP unit also uses cheap equipment like a shampoo bottle and plastic tubing, so it is easy to access and simple to put together

Speaking on the occasion Dr Chisti said, “I am delighted to receive the People's Choice Award for Most Promising Child Pneumonia Innovation. I will be even happier if the World Health Organization recommends this low-cost bubble-CPAP treatment as the standard therapy for children with severe pneumonia and hypoxemia in developing countries.”

The event was organised by the Pneumonia Innovations Team, a global network of more than 200 organizations and individuals committed to accelerating the development and adoption of new technologies with the greatest potential to reduce child deaths from pneumonia.